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SuperBass 2
Ray Brown, John Clayton, Christian McBride

Article added on December 3, 2001

SuperBass: John Clayton, Ray Brown (center), Christian McBride.
Photograph: Charles Gauthier.

Get the CD SuperBass 2 from,,,

The group's first CD: Superbass. Telarc, 1997. Get the CD from,, or

Sheet Music Plus Jazz
Super Bass 2
Review by Jean-Michel Reisser "Beethoven" (Reisser is a friend of Ray Brown who, some 15 years ago, gave him the nickname "Beethoven". Reisser also organizes concerts for Brown and they have produced a series of videos together. However, Reisser is not associated with the SuperBass project. - Louis Gerber, Cosmopolis).
"SuperBass 2" Ray Brown, John Clayton, Christian McBride (basses). Recorded live at the "Blue Note", New York City, December 15-17, 2000. Telarc 83483.
SuperBass Theme; Get Happy; Mysterioso; Papa Was A Rolling Stone; Medley from "Porgy And Bess"; Birk's Works; My Funny Valentine, Three By Four, Taco With A Pork Chops, SuperBass Theme.
This opus is the second one recorded by the group for the Telarc label (the first one was recorded live at "Sculler's" in Boston in 1996). What many people can't imagine here is how much music these 3 giants can get out of their basses: a real "tour de force"! They play everything: the melodies, rhythm, solos, arrangements. "It's a big challenge to play with 3 basses" says Ray Brown. "Because it's really difficult to play in tune, right in the pocket. You can't go on stage and improvise with this kind of band! You have to write arrangements, rehearse your ass off to come up with something strong and good." It's very clear (and you can hear it!) that this band rehearses a lot because the music is complicated. But they have so much fun too. We can feel it because the recording is so well done that we hear Ray's voice singing, talking, chuckling and joking, as do John and Christian! And this CD is great for that too. Fun for sure but not in detriment to the music. Never. It's not a spot for one particular bass player but a meeting and conversation of all 3 members of the group. Sometimes it's even difficult to know who is playing what. Jazz is not a matter of age and this is proved here: Ray is the father (75), John the son (48) and Christian the grandson (32). "Ray is 75 now but he plays with a non pareil force and vitality! He's so fantastic. He's the youngest of all of us!" says Christian. "Christian is eating the bass alive!" says Ray. "He's going up and down like a banjo!". About John, Christian says: "He's a player with a such class, inventive, with his rich tones. And he can bow like nobody else can!" The repertoire is a good mix of different moods and rhythm: swing (It don't mean a thing if...), blues, funk, slap, bow... Everybody comes up with some original arrangements. "Get Happy" is by Christian with a lot of fast exchanges and chords. "Mysterioso", composed by Monk, arranged by John, sounds like a classical piece here, then changing to a Blues mood played with great depth by Ray.  Ray uses the original chords of "Porgy And Bess" for his medley of his three arrangements. He use Miles' famous tune "Freddie Freeloader" in the intro of "It Ain't Necessary So". Nothing less! Surprises: our guys sing and make the crowd sing too! The Temptation's hit tune  "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" is a perfect example of the versatility of the group. The dialogue between Christian and John playing the bow is absolutely incredible! Ray does a funky and nasty slap solo like he is in possession of the big secret. Another unusual aspect: Ray's new funky Latin tune "Taco With A Pork Chop". He makes the audience sing and everybody has a ball on that one! "I snuck up on those guys with it. I get these little whims about every twenty years. The last time I had one of these whims, it became a hit song - "Gravy Waltz". It's a social statement on reality" explains Brown. Having lived in LA for more than 35 years now, Ray thinks that it unites the Blacks and Hispanics in LA. "Let's combine the two groups to gain powerful clout vis-à-vis "Taco With A Pork Chops" (using ethnic food symbols)".  SuperBass is exactly what you will hear: 3 fabulous musicians who have something strong, unusual and original to play with a big sound: the acoustic bass. Let's hope that we will see them live in Europe very soon. It's time for a change and for new things to happen, as played by this unique and fabulous group. - Sheet music by Ray Brown.

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